I looked at myself in the mirror. My blonde hair was tangled and straggly; my eyes had a sunken look to them. My face was grimy, with tear streaks down my cheeks. I probably looked worse inside. A broken heart and heavy conscience does not make for a beautiful person.

I filled up the bath tub until it was full and steam floated around the bathroom. I sighed, and then got in. The water burned at first, but soon I grew used to it. I washed my face and hair, taking off three days of dirt. But the pain didn't wash away; I doubt it ever would. Tears leaked from my eyes as I recalled that day….

-

"Megs, what do you see yourself doing after college," my childhood friend, Bryan, had asked.

"I don't know, Bry, but I mean, we just finished high school, we have time. What about you?"

"Well, I enlisted." I had choked on my root beer as he said this.

"In the Army?! But, Bry, that's dangerous! You could get hurt!"

"Well, actually, Megs, it's the Navy."

"But that's worse! I thought we were both going to go to MIT together, and then we could go save the environment together!"

"Well, the Navy provides schooling after you've served. I would just be after you, that's all."

"But you can't, Bry! I'd miss you too much! You just have to cancel or something."

"You don't cancel after you enlist, Megan. It's just not done." I sighed resignedly. This boy was stubborn, but I'd have to try to accept it.

"When are you leaving," I asked in a small voice.

"Tomorrow." At that point I had broken down, sobbing. He had held me while I cried my eyes out over this. He had known how I felt.

-

I came back to the present. I slowly got out of the tub, and dressed. I went in my basement and picked up an old scrapbook. It had many pictures of Bryan and me, and letters he had sent me. I turned to a picture of the two of us one time when he had been allowed to come home. He was in his camouflage, and I was in a green tank and black shorts.

The next picture had Bryan, Candy, and me. Candy was another one of my childhood friends, and the three of us had always hung out together. She had a very close brother-sister relationship with him, though they weren't related. Candy was also like my sister. I cried harder as the memory of our conversation three days ago resurfaced….

"Megs, the boat Bryan was on sunk. No one was found." I looked at her in shock.

"What-what do you mean?"

"Megs, Bryan is… Megs, Bryan's gone!" At that point she had held onto me and sobbed. I had joined her. My best friend since Pre-K was gone. Gone forever.

"Why did he have to enlist," I had asked an hour later. Candy suddenly went rigid. She looked up at me with awe in her eyes.

"You never realized?"

"Realized what?"

"You never realized that Bryan was in love with you?!"

"What?!? What the hell do you mean; Bryan was in love with me?"

"Exactly what I just said! Bryan was head-over-heels in love with you! I thought you had figured it out!"

"Of course I didn't! You don't think I would have let him go if I knew that, do you?"

"Well, obviously Bryan knew more than I did. He had told me that he was trying to show you that he was worthy of your love, so he had enlisted. He also told me to tell you, but I thought you already knew!" I had an unfamiliar feeling in my gut. Guilt.

"You know what, Candy? I did love him. I loved him with all my heart, just never realized it." Candy had hugged me close, and then she drove me home.

-

I realized something as I got home that day. This thought made me feel ten times worse and better at the same time, but I couldn't rid myself of it. Bryan had died because he loved me; he had died fighting for my love. Something he had had all along.

-xXxXx-

So, I had this idea, and I felt like I needed to write it. I had absolutely no idea where to go with it, so I said I'll put it up with the other one. Go ahead and use it, with my permission. Oh, and I know this isn't as good or detailed as the first, but I have chills now. I mean stories of husbands or friends going to war and not returning have always touched me in a way that's impossible for me to describe. Anyway, I hope you like this. I had at first envisioned it more heated and action-packed. I had thought that Candy and Megan would have had an argument at first. Well, it didn't turn out that way. But go ahead if you want to write about something like that. Review please!